“So, what does a PR Firm do? What don’t you do?” You Might be Surprised…
As PR professionals, we are often approached by prospective clients or inquiring minds who want to know exactly what it is that a PR firm does. They want to know: what is “public relations”? The PR, marketing, and advertising industries often have an overlap of services, so it’s important to lay the groundwork and discuss what PR folks, in particular, DO and DON’T do.
Our Bread and Butter
- Develop relationships with media contacts on behalf of our clients. Media relations is a key component of our business. We’re constantly keeping tabs on current events, checking out what reporters are writing about on Twitter, and brainstorming ways that we can connect our clients with journalists and producers. It’s our job to take our clients’ ideas and news and communicate them to the press, often both on a local and national level. It’s up to us to know what’s going on.
- Listen and translate. In the financial services industry, for example, there’s a lot of jargon and terms that we know general business reporters or our clients’ target audiences are not familiar with. We listen to our clients to understand their core messages, and then develop marketing pieces, media pitches, newsletters, and more to communicate what they want to get across. We do a lot of writing!
- Stay on top of PR and marketing trends in the digital age. The PR field is constantly changing as new media avenues emerge (think: Instagram, blogging, online magazines, etc.). It’s our job to make sure our clients have an online presence so that they are visible and current. We help update their websites, build and maintain social media sites, explore whether a YouTube or video production makes sense for them, and more.
What We Don’t Do
- We typically don’t focus on traditional advertising or “pay to play” opportunities—unless current clients specifically request our assistance. Instead, we concentrate on earned—and free—media placements in which we work with reporters to position you as an expert, coordinate an interview, and monitor coverage in their publication.
- Magic tricks. We work extremely hard for our clients, but we can’t make miracles happen. Sure, we would love to secure an interview with The Wall Street Journal for you, but we can’t guarantee it. Some things are out of our control: reporters may be on vacation or at a conference, they may be shifting their beat, or they may have just covered something similar. It’s up to us to set realistic expectations with our clients, though, so that we can discuss and set attainable goals and perhaps brainstorm other ideas to secure coverage that may be just as widespread.
- Extensive and involved design work. Many PR pros are trained in design and know the basics, but it’s not our specialty and we like to stick to what we’re good at. If you’re looking for a new website or for a great print ad, we’re happy to make referrals to our creative design partners!
Overall, we’re focused on what we call PR 3.0: the combination of marketing, public relations, and social media. Our goal is not to help clients design an elaborate advertisement – it’s to create a comprehensive campaign that involves media outreach, social media assistance, and content development.